Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith, of Clinton, Illinois,
a member of the 55th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry, distinguished
himself on 30 November 1864 by saving his regimental colors, after the
color bearer was killed during a bloody charge called the Battle of
Honey Hill, South Carolina.
In the late afternoon, as the 55th Regiment pursued enemy
skirmishers and conducted a running fight, they ran into a swampy area
backed by a rise where the Confederate Army awaited. The surrounding
woods and thick underbrush impeded infantry movement and artillery support.
The 55th and 54th regiments formed columns to advance on the enemy position
in a flanking movement.
As the Confederates repelled other units, the 55th and
54th regiments continued to move into flanking positions. Forced into
a narrow gorge crossing a swamp in the face of the enemy position, the
55th's Color-Sergeant was killed by an exploding shell, and Corporal
Smith took the Regimental Colors from his hand and carried them through
heavy grape and canister fire.
Although half of the officers and a third of the enlisted
men engaged in the fight were killed or wounded, Corporal Smith continued
to expose himself to enemy fire by carrying the colors throughout the
battle. Through his actions, the Regimental Colors of the 55th Infantry
Regiment were not lost to the enemy.
Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith's extraordinary valor in
the face of deadly enemy fire is in keeping with the highest traditions
of military service and reflect great credit upon him, the 55th Regiment,
and the United States Army.